Navigation Links
Kinesiology team gets $975,000 Defense grant to study effects of heavy loads on soldiers
Date:4/24/2012

AMHERST, Mass. A team of kinesiology researchers led by Richard Van Emmerik at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a 2.5-year, $975,000 grant through the Navy Health Research Center in the Department of Defense to study how the average 100-lb. equipment load carried by soldiers, which can be even heavier in some missions, affects their survivability, likelihood of injury and ability to carry out missions.

"Load is not a new issue for field commanders to consider," says Van Emmerik, who is director of UMass Amherst's Sensory-Motor Control Laboratory. "But while past studies typically focused on how load affects gait and the lower body, we will for the first time look at how the upper body, trunk and head coordinate in a soldier who is burdened by a heavy load, which is a fundamentally different and a more complex situation."

Doctoral candidate Christopher Palmer, an Army employee who is an expert in motor control and military performance and a key member of Van Emmerik's team, adds, "To us, gait is just the beginning. We'll introduce a visual search task and track the coordination of upper body, postural control and visual acuity. No study has yet added all these, plus other factors, together in a realistic way to look at how load affects the soldier's ability to perceive threats, his or her operational effectiveness and survivability in combat."

Findings will also have practical significance for firefighters, police, rescue workers and others who must wear helmets, body armor, backpacks or other equipment while carrying out their duties.

The kinesiology research team, which includes doctoral students Mike Busa and Luis Rosado, with post-doctoral fellows Darnell Simon and Jongil Lim, will recruit highly trained infantrymen as laboratory subjects who will be tested with no load as well as while carrying a variety of loads between 70 and 120 lbs. for the studies.

Van Emmerik notes, "Biomechanics has taught us a lot over the past 30 years about load and locomotion, stamina, oxygen use, energy use and so on. We'll expand to look at whether load affects reaction time, visual attention to critical details and the ability to discriminate friend or foe. We'll set up some fairly realistic tasks such as having a soldier jump off the back of a truck, scan an area, and then immediately hit targets in a marksmanship test."

In preliminary tests, Palmer says, they have used participants who are "fresh" and not fatigued. But as work progresses, they plan to also conduct tests with subjects who are tired to see if they have trouble recognizing friend or foe on a radio call or taking a marksmanship test wearing night vision goggles, for example. "We'll add different layers of stress in a smart progression so that we can understand what each layer is adding to the challenge."

Overall, the kinesiology research team would like to be able to report to the military a great deal of new knowledge about the physical and mental trade-offs and limitations that come with soldiers carrying heavy loads, and of which a field commander can be aware.

"We'd like to contribute to commanders being able to make better decisions about what can be accomplished under certain conditions," Van Emmerik says. "For example, if the protective equipment has to be x, y and z, where can you expect the sharp drop in performance and how can you balance that with mission success?"


'/>"/>
Contact: Janet Lathrop
jlathrop@admin.umass.edu
413-545-0444
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. A bit touchy: Plants insect defenses activated by touch
2. New immune defense enzyme discovered
3. Basketball-sized eyes help squids play defense
4. Tapping the bodys own defenses, researchers look to cutting-edge gene therapy for bladder cancer
5. Immunological defense mechanism leaves malaria patients vulnerable to deadly infection
6. How Salmonella forms evil twins to evade the bodys defenses
7. An unexpected player in a cancer defense system
8. Targeting bacterial gas defenses allow for increased efficacy of numerous antibiotics
9. GTSI Wins Department of Defense Contract to Provide Biometric Automated Toolset Systems for U.S. Army
10. Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd edition
11. Rainbows without pigments offer new defense against fraud
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Kinesiology team gets $975,000 Defense grant to study effects of heavy loads on soldiers
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016   Parabon ... from the U.S. Army Research Office and the ... range and sensitivity of the company,s Snapshot ... Accounting Mission and, more generally, defense-related DNA forensics. ... phenotyping capabilities (predicting appearance and ancestry from DNA ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading ... second quarter ended December 31, 2015. --> ... fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last ... fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... ... Information Management Services ( IMS ) is pleased to announce a major ... foundation and is so significant it was endowed with a new name, BSI Engage. ... results, a streamlined layout and a more intuitive format for navigating the system. ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced today that its new website has gone live. On Thursday, Feb. ... Visit the new site: www.diplomat.is ... ... ... "The goal was to reimagine the website and create a ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016  In the pharmaceutical industry the medical affairs ... launch activities including the identification and engagement of key ... especially high in the oncology therapeutic area where most ... the Role of Medical Affairs in Oncology Launch Excellence ... therapies find better ways to utilize medical affairs to ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... New FDA action date of July 22, ... July 22, 2016   --> - ... - Lifitegrast has the potential to be the only ... signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults --> ... approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: